Wednesday, 9/16/15

  1. ACLU abandons Civil Liberties
  2. Transitions in moral codes
  3. Death is a lousy treatment
  4. Where is the conservative Christian Bernie Sanders?
  5. I need a Mr. Amos
  6. Only stupid objections
  7. Do Evangelicals love The Donald?
  8. Introducing Heterodox Academy

1

Many people are shocked by the idea that any organization — even a pro-racism advocacy group — has a First Amendment right to indulge in race discrimination when necessary to further its message. Yet, as in many other contexts, protecting the First Amendment rights of unpopular, outrageous, and contemptible organizations will ultimately protect the rights of mainstream and forward-thinking organizations as well.

(David E. Berstein, You Can’t Say That!: The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties from Antidiscrimination Laws)

Of the abuse of antidiscrimination laws based on marital status:

The goal of … cohabitating couples who sue religious landlords seems to have less to do with combating invidious discrimination—because unlike, say, African Americans in the 1960s, these couples can almost always find alternative housing quite easily — and more to do with trying to punish religious conservatives for refusing to accommodate liberal secular values. It is not so much a case of ‘‘you’ve prevented me from finding a place to live,’’ as it is a case of ‘‘you’ve acted in a politically incorrect way and now you’re going to pay.

Of the ACLU:

Why does an organization purportedly devoted to civil liberties believe that the constitutionally protected right to free exercise of religion should be trumped by antidiscrimination laws?

2

Is a culture of victimhood coming on hard?

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt recently plugged a paper by two sociologists on why we are developing a victim culture in which so-called microaggressions can send sensitive souls into paroxysms of offendedness. Haidt thinks this signals the second of two transitions in moral codes.

“The first major transition happened in the 18th and 19th centuries when most Western societies moved away from cultures of honor (where people must earn honor and must therefore avenge insults on their own) to cultures of dignity in which people are assumed to have dignity and don’t need to earn it,” Haidt notes. “They foreswear violence, turn to courts or administrative bodies to respond to major transgressions, and for minor transgressions they either ignore them or attempt to resolve them by social means. There’s no more dueling.”

But the dignity culture, Haidt writes, is transitioning into “a new culture of victimhood in which people are encouraged to respond to even the slightest unintentional offense, as in an honor culture. But they must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others or administrative bodies, to whom they must make the case that they have been victimized.”

(Charlotte Hays, How Achilles Can Help Us Understand Donald Trump) This sounds to me like the old Heckler’s Veto in drag.

I should note that this quote seems like an aside to her central insight into The Donald:

Donald Trump is our Achilles, the blowhard hero of Homer’s Iliad … As we contemplate a Trump presidency, however, we should remember that he is running as a warrior for a job that, as Agamemnon knew, was about governing, not fighting. This could be his (and our) Achilles heel.

3

“I have never considered that death was a good treatment for anything, no matter what was wrong with anyone.” (Dr Philippa Whitford, an MP for the Scottish National Party, addressing the principle behind a misnamed assisted suicide bill)

4

Commenting on Bernie Sanders’ appearance at Liberty University:

Where is the conservative Christian Bernie Sanders? A guy who stands up for the poor and the working class, but also for the unborn? I’d vote for that man — or woman — in a heartbeat. Pat Buchanan was in that ballpark a generation or so ago. More recently, I thought Mike Huckabee was going to be that guy, but then he turned himself into a Foxbot.

(Rod Dreher)

5

Rod Dreher writes of Lousiana’s Amos Pierce, who you’ve probably never heard of unless you read Dreher’s blog or have bought the book he co-authored with Wendell Pierce, Amos’s son. “Mr. Amos” was a black WW II hero, who returned to the mistreatment typical of the era:

Wendell remembers this event from his childhood, when his dad took him to a boxing match in the late 1960s or early 1970s, in the Black Power era:

That night at the Municipal Auditorium, the national anthem began to sound over the PA system, signaling that the fights would soon begin. Everyone stood, except some brothers sitting in the next row down from us. They looked up at my father and said, “Aw, Pops, sit down.”

“Don’t touch me, man,” growled my dad.

“Sit down! Sit down!” they kept on.

“Don’t touch me,” he said. “I fought for that flag. You can sit down. I fought for you to have that right. But I fought for that flag too, and I’m going to stand.”

Then one of the brothers leveled his eyes at Daddy, and said, “No, you need to sit down.” He started pulling on my father’s pants leg.

That was it. “You touch me one more time,” my father roared, “and I’m going to kick you in your f—-ng teeth.”

The radical wiseass turned around and minded his own business. That was a demonstration of black power that the brother hadn’t expected.

Not long ago, I was feeling very down and frustrated about our country, and doubting my own loyalty to it. Then I thought about what Amos Pierce had been through, and how he had suffered both in war, and then the humiliation of having his bravery denied, simply because of the color of his skin. Yet his faith in America did not waver.

And then I felt ashamed of myself.

I’m presently the radical wiseass, for much different reasons than he or Mr. Amos could have claimed. I need a Mr. Amos or something.

6

7

It is some consolation to learn that the Evangelical love affair with Donald Trump is exaggerated.

8

Worth watching: Heterodox Academy, introduced by Jonathan Haidt.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.